Unless your business is completely run by robots or other automatons, you likely rely heavily on staff. Employees are probably the ones creating your product, communicating with your customers, delivering your services, and managing your processes. Your staff are your direct connection between you and your customers. They are responsible for executing your vision for how your business serves your customers or your community.
In many businesses staff salaries are by far the largest line item in the budget. Yet, oftentimes things like equipment, inventory, and facilities end up getting much more attention and financial resources than the staff. Think of the time, energy and money that goes into maintaining a company vehicle. This important resource likely receives regular oil changes, preventative maintenance, and routine TLC cleaning. Imagine if the same amount of planning, time, energy and financial investment went into our people!
When a company hits a wall in terms of growth, or a nonprofit organization becomes stagnant in the impact they are providing, it almost always comes down to culture. A stagnant business can be traced back to a dysfunctional, negative, toxic culture. Changes to other facets of the business may deliver short-term improvements. However, in order to make real progress for lasting growth and impact, the culture must be fixed.
Healthy cultures boil down to two things:
- How a company treats their people
- A commitment to clear and honest communication
A business that masters these two components is well on their way to success. Obviously, attention needs to be given to financial management, quality processes, strategic planning and more. But without a healthy culture, those other things will only take you so far.
Benefits of Nurturing Your Staff
There are hundreds of benefits a company can reap from lifting-up, valuing and honoring their employees. This article will not list hundreds of benefits. Rather, it will focus on a few key benefits that will help your business grow or your agency impact to expand.
- Staff who feel valued become loyal team members. Nothing beats a loyal staff member! Loyal employees do more for the PR and brand of your company than any marketing campaign ever will. When someone loves their job, they tell everyone. They attract customers, potential employees, and prospective donors for nonprofit organizations. That kind of messaging is genuine and captivating. Thus appealing to people who otherwise may have never given your business a second thought.
- Another benefit of loyal team members is that they work harder, are solution oriented, and care about the quality of work they do for you. These folk have a vested interest in the success of the business. They embrace the direction you are taking your company or the impact your agency is striving for in your community. Loyal employees do their best and work with the company’s interest top of mind.
- Supporting your staff looks good on you. Companies that invest in their employees, foster their growth, and help them pursue their career goals are companies that people want to work for. Recruiting, hiring, and training staff can be extremely expensive. Imagine if prospective employees came to you because they want to be part of how you grow your staff! Additionally, the level to which you respect your staff comes right back around. Want to be respected at work, be the leader in demonstrating what that looks like.
- Valuing your staff creates a positive culture. As stated above, how a company treats their staff is foundational to creating a healthy culture. And nothing fosters growth and increased impact like a healthy and positive culture. If growth and increased impact isn’t motivational enough, great cultures are fun to be part of and to lead. Since most people spend at least half of their waking hours at work, a positive company culture will improve the collective and individual mental health of the entire staff team.
As there are hundreds of benefits to nurturing your staff, there are just as many ways to lift-up your staff. The best way to do this is to use your unique personality and leadership skills to genuinely value your staff. Still not sure how to get started? Here are some tips to get the ball rolling.
- Listen. Take the time to listen to your staff. Fully listen. Approach conversions with a listening mind-set. There is no greater gift you can give someone than to listen to them with an intent to understand. You can read more about this topic here and here and here.
- Build real relationships. Just like “Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses”, staff also stay with bosses they like, enjoy being around, and respect. Listening is a great way to start down this path. Couple it with asking really good questions and you’ve got this one made!
- Give them what they need. There are the basics. Workstation. Computer. Stapler. These are the obvious things – you give them whatever equipment they need to do their job. Beyond that – training and a safe environment to learn is also expected. What about those employees who need a lot of positive reinforcement? Or the ones who need to chat with you for a few minutes each day? And what about those who need to check-in regularly to make sure they are on track? Do you give them what they need? Giving employees these things (essentially your time and acknowledgement) may be challenging when you’re busy. However, when you think about the value of a loyal employee, it seems less like an interruption to your day and more like a crucial part of leading people.
- The Golden Rule. It turns out that your company’s human resources are made up of HUMANS! Who would have thought? And do you know what humans like to be treated like? You guessed it – humans. This one is very simple. When interacting with an employee, think about how you would like to be treated in that interaction. This usually includes values like respect, dignity, caring, trusting, and maybe fun. If team member interactions can be tied back to company values, it’s even better.
Before closing this article, I want to be clear that I am not suggesting tolerating staff who are not a fit for your company, your culture, or the jobs you have available. I believe wholeheartedly in hiring slowly (to ensure a good fit) and firing quickly. Rip that band-aid off if that’s the right decision. Your job as the leader is to make sure you have provided everything staff need in order to be successful. If you are confident you have fulfilled your end of the bargain and it’s still not working out, decide and take action quickly.
Need help elevating your organization’s culture? Email me at email@example.com to schedule a free 30-minute consultation to discuss how I can help you create a culture that will grow your business and increase your impact!
Kim is a mom, wife, lover of being active and the outdoors,
and helper of small businesses and nonprofits.